Bhubaneswar: Khudurukuni Osha or Bhalukuni Osha, the month long festival of the state observed on the Sundays in the month of Bhadrab (August – September) by unmarried girls for their brothers concluded on Sunday.
The unique festival dates back to the maritime era of ancient Odisha. According to tradition, unmarried girls worship goddess Mangala as Khudurukuni to receive blessings from her for the fulfillment of their wishes, by fasting and reciting the story behind the festival.
The ritual is based on the legend of a young girl named ‘Taapoi’. She had to undergo sufferings in the hands of her sister-in-laws when her seven brothers who had been to far off islands for trade by the sea and had not returned for years.
Her sincere devotion however, brings back her brothers. Therefore, there is a belief that the ritual is observed by girls to bring success in all their endeavors and to bring good luck to their brothers.
After early morning bath, unmarried girls collect flower and worship goddess Mangala by making small mounts of clay on the banks of ponds, rivers or near a well and present khai and ukhuda (puffed rice and paddy) along with coconut and country cakes.
In the evening, ‘Jhoti’ designs are drawn on the floor. An idol of the Goddess is established and the worship and rituals begin. While mostly the girls establish the idols for worshipping in their house, sometimes they also get in groups to hold the Osha or prayer.
During the Puja, episodes from the life of Taapoi is sung by the girls.
After worshipping for four Sundays, the idol is immersed in the river or sea on the fourth Sunday.